Friday, July 30, 2010

A brand new day

I woke up this morning and realized I had one thing to do today... call my doctor.  This anxiety cannot continue the way I have allowed it to. Letting my panic run my life has been my biggest mistake.  So I sat in front of my phone with my heart pounding waiting for the clock to hit 8:30am when my doctors office opened. Nervously shaken and not sure what to say, I finally dialed the number and told them I needed help. Big help.  They said blah blah blah taking care of a newborn is very stressful and hard and it can take down even the toughest woman. But my experience with Lauren is the complete opposite.  She is a wonderful easy going baby. She is not contributing to my anxiety at all. Well not directly.  My fears that I cannot be with her at all times have worn me down to a permanently jaw clenched and exhausted mama.  My doctor suggested therapy and I explained how a $30 copay twice a week would bankrupt me and I needed help now! I can't go on with my life knowing a panic attack could strike at any time. I do believe therapy could help some people but I've tried it and I suffered more anxiety through those sessions than ever before.  I couldn't even eat on days that I had an appointment. So my doctor said he would call in zoloft for me. As those words fell out of his mouth I felt my chest open up and the weight of this fearful panic lifted off of me.  I suddenly felt hope for the future that I haven't felt ever in my life.  I envisioned more smiles and more satisfaction coming my way and it felt so good.  Let me say it again.  IT FELT SO GOOD!

So today begins a brand new life for me and my family.  Hopefully this will help me to be a better wife and a better mom by taking care of my own mental health. I do it all for them.  How can I not? I mean look at this face!


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Right where it hurts the most

Last night I had a terrible breakdown. Lauren was screaming her head off and Tom was holding her trying to get her to calm down. My heart started racing and I ended up curled up on the couch in a big wet sloppy mess and bawled my eyes out. I knew if I held her I could calm her down but Tom wanted to do it himself and wouldn't let me take her. It was the most helpless I have ever felt in my whole life. I was dying inside listening to her scream. I can't remember the last time I cried so hard. So eventually, Tom calmed her down but I was so shaken I could barely move or speak and it ended up taking me a while to stop crying. After i took a shower I finally was able to breathe normally again so I went straight to bed. Tom seemed a bit concerned by then and he handed her over to me. So I sat there with her on the bed, staring into her eyes and realized what just happened was probably a panic attack. Holding her in my arms after that was the most calm I think I had ever felt. She fell right asleep and then so did I.

I know now that leaving her to go back to work will be heartbreaking and I'm not sure how I can handle it sanely. This is most definitely not a trust issue. This is a separation anxiety issue. I know other people are perfectly capable of taking good care of her. But their hands are not my hands. I want to approve of and oversee everything that goes near her. It's impossible and I obviously know that but I have this fierce instinct to be present for every moment in her life even if it's just be be there in the room. This is very bad news and I'm not sure how to cope with all of this. I have heard of moms crying when they have to return to work but a freaking panic attack? Really? Just from not being able to comfort my child when she cries? Oh man, this is going to be the hardest journey. Much harder than I imagined. I'm not ready to let go or hand her over. I think I need her more than she needs me and that's terrifying.

I have all of today and tomorrow with her just the two of us.  Then I have one last weekend with her and Tom as a family before I go to work on Monday.  My in-laws will watch her on Monday and Friday and she will stay home with me on Tuesday and Thursday. Tom will have her on Wednesday. This next week is bringing the most anxiety since waiting for her birth. I just don't want to end up having another panic attack at work. Sadly, the likelihood seems high.

Honestly Mama,

Monday, July 26, 2010

Milk Maid

This is my last week home with Lauren.  While I'm exhausted at being her beckon call girl and answering to her every cry, I will miss her terribly.  In spite of the sadness of having to be away from my snuggly munchin and go back to work, I'm hoping it will feel nice to not be Lauren's personal milk maid every couple of hours.  You know, for the three days of work I will be working. She has been going through quite a growth spurt making her insatiably hungry which means she has basically been permanently attached to my lap so I can pop her on my boob at any given time.  I have become a slave to her cues, feeding her long before she cries so pumping at work will definitely be a challenge.  I will be forced to pump solely on a time based schedule unless I have her babysitter send me a text every time she eats.....which actually doesn't seem like a terrible idea now that I think of it. 

Just yesterday my heart broke as I had to pack away Lauren's newborn onsies that she has already outgrown. She still fits newborn diapers and pants because she has the tiniest waist ever. It was really sad to say goodbye to some of my favorite little outfits. Those outfits represent Lauren at the little miniature size she was when she was born. But I am keeping them all for the second baby girl I may have one day. Yeah that's right, I'm already thinking about baby number two. The thought of sisters very close in age just drives me crazy.  Almost crazy enough to throw out my birth control pills. Almost.  I guess Lauren is just such an easy baby that I could imagine having another one right this moment and not really be phased by it.  Sure, she cries when she's hungry and wakes up often through the night. But she has been an extremely easy going baby. Even at 3am she still wakes up in a good mood and grunts and whines in her crib for about 20 minutes before she would even think to cry for her personal assistant...I mean me. 

So many people told me I will never sleep again and that babies are so hard.  Losing sleep was my biggest fear, as you would know if you've been reading along with my pregnancy.  It makes me wonder is she really that easy of a baby or was I just readily prepared for all the work that was expected to come along with this? She's an amazing darling and yes, it is true, I would sacrifice every night's sleep for her.  But just for kicks, let's hope that doesn't happen. 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

It makes me melt into a puddle of love

I had my follow up doctor's appointment two days ago. It was so amazing to get the chance to bring Lauren in to the office and show her off to all the nurses and to the doctor that brought her into the world.  My doctor just ate her up and it was so precious to see my beautiful daughter in her arms. I got to hug her and thank her for taking care of me throughout the pregnancy and for calming me down when I freaked out in the operating room before my c-section. She assured me that being scared meant I was a good mother for worrying what would happen to her and me.  At the appointment the nurse let me weigh Lauren on the scale and that little piggy was nine and a half pounds! I, however, was back down to my pre-pregnancy weight which was a big relief. I didn't gain much over the recommended guideline so I was hoping to jump back down pretty quickly.  There are many women I've talked to who gained weight like they were eating at a buffet full of babies and it almost made me wonder "how many babies are actually inside you?" I know I gained a lot of water weight, which really pissed me off, because a pound is pound and that's all that mattered to me. I would cry when leaving the doctor's office each time because I was told not to go over twenty-five pounds and I'm a person who takes doctor's orders very seriously.  Although this seems backwards, health was not my concern while pregnant. I was so sick that just keeping calories down was cause for celebration.  Anything that I craved, I ate, but always in tiny portions because that's all I could get down.  My concern was always not to gain too much weight so that after I had the baby I wouldn't look pregnant anymore. It was ok to have a swollen belly after birth because the uterus takes time to shrink but there shouldn't be extra fat on your body.  I still don't understand why you are suposed to gain weight when you are pregnant anyway.  And I mean extra weight on your own body other than the products of a baby.

Here's me at forty weeks. I snapped this picture after my doctor told me to go to the hospital to get induced. We ran home and I jumped in front of the camera with this very scared look on my face.

I'm sorry I don't have an "after" picture for you.  I hope to get one up soon.  Hopefully I will remain at this weight. My life with a newborn has brought on lots of ice cream and fast food since I am too tired to cook.  I really thought I would have a really great time on maternity leave but my TMJ has gotten the worst it has ever been and the sleep deprivation is bru-tal! So it has just been really easy to order food or frequent the drive-through. On top of that I have been stuck inside due to temperatures in the 90's and 100's. My visions of walking my newborn in the park have been seriously crushed.  The five weeks I have been home, we have had maybe two or three days where it was decent enough to take Lauren outside before 7pm. I think I'm seriously losing my mind being indoors constantly. The fact that I have my little lollipop with me has made it bearable. And today she shared her first real smile with me.... you know, other than those sleepy smiles which are adorable but not reactive. I didn't catch the first one on video but here she is repeating that life changing moment.

It makes me melt into a puddle of love for my little Lauren girl.


YouTube Link

Here's a collection of videos of my darling little Lauren

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Time for birth control

When I got pregnant with Lauren I was immediately terrified of postpartum depression. I just assumed I would sink down into a black hole and not have the ability to care for my own child. I feared that I would lay in bed all day and all the possibilities that would happen that would tear my marriage apart and cause me to be unable to love my child. And worst of all, would I even recognize the symptoms? Then guess what happened?  I gave birth and the exact opposite happened.  I'm so in love with this petite creature that I stalk her in her crib while she sleeps and wait for a chance to hold her again. I've only left her twice since she's been born. Once while I went to have lunch with a friend while Tom's aunt watched her for a few hours and once last night while Tom and I went to red lobster for a dinner that was promised to me while I was in labor. As the long painful hours of contractions progressed Tom kept promising me the ultimate feast dinner which is unarguably the most delicious meal on the planet.  Shrimp scampi, snow crab legs, lobster tail, fried shrimp and baked potato all on one plate. Yum! Now I don't like leaving her one bit but Tom convinced me that I needed to get out for a break from all the poop and boob suckling and take advantage of all the breast milk I have stored up in the freezer. We ended up going to pick up pictures of Lauren i had ordered, then going to Babies R Us, then spending the entire dinner talking about her, of course. After dinner and a few drinks, we couldn't think of anything else to do so we came home at the wee late hour of 8pm to kiss her toes and tickle her nose. Tom's mom ended up staying for a little bit while we sat out back in the gazebo and had dessert and drinks. Tom mentioned how anxious I was because of how badly I was itching to go back inside. I just can't function normally unless she is within earshot of me. I can't ever let my guard down. I suppose this is normal and every mom feels this way. I just wasn't prepared for the amount of space she would occupy in my brain.  How will I ever be able to concentrate at work again without thoughts of her invading everything I do?  My heart goes out to all the mommies who are able to work a full time job and leave their children in someone elses care all day long.  It's going to be quite an adjustment.  I go back to work in 2 weeks and already I am mourning the time I will miss with her.  I want to be there for all her milestones, not get a recap of them from the babysitter. I hope she understands that I had to work to pay for her life. 

Speaking of work, I took Lauren in for a visit to the office last week and everyone just ate her up.  Every time she made a sound, people perked up and scaled their cubicle walls to see a baby!! A baby!... either that or they wanted an excuse to get a break from working but I don't mind either way. She was such a good lil sweetie the whole time.  She didn't cry or whine or explode any substances out of her diaper.  She just happily got passed around from person to person without any complaints. She has days like that and then she has days were all she does is whine and cry and make her little piggy grunting noise.  Those days are the hardest to deal with because she is never satisfied no matter how long I rock her or feed her. There's no keeping her happy. Then there are days when all she does is sleep and she only wakes up long enough to eat then she falls back asleep again.  I like the sleepy days.  Especially when I get these awful debilitating postpartum migraines.  Which reminds me, that is something I need to bring up at my doctors appointment coming up on Tuesday.  Oh yeah, and we definitely need to have a birth control conversation too. 


Monday, July 12, 2010

It just doesn't get better than this.

I recently read a birth story on natural birth. And i got to thinking about my experience with giving birth to Lauren. It's already been three weeks since her big debut and i've already forgotten about the pain. If you asked me right now how bad those contractions were I would say "meh, no biggie". But when I look back at my birth story I talked about going through unbearable life changing pain. I've always heard people say you forget the pain and yes, I believed them but that didn't change the fact that you actually have to go through the pain in order to have the privilege of forgetting it. And that, my friends, was the scary part. I find it very interesting that humans don't remember pain. And I find it even more interesting that I would be willing to have ten more babies if it meant I get to scoop them up and smell their little baby heads the way that I get to do with Lauren. And might I say on a side note that I would set my body on fire for that kid. She is bigger than anything that has every happened to me. Her tiny squirmy cuddly body is my favorite thing in the world. There's no place I'd rather be than next to her. But would I have done a natural birth? Chances are thats never gonna happen. I would very much love to feel the high women feel when they give birth without hormone inhibiting drugs. I believe nature intended for us to feel this pain and to feel the instant hormonal bond with your child the moment they leave your body and enter the world. But is it worth the pain? I was in labor for twenty-two hours total. Of those twenty-two hours, I was in pain that I couldn't tolerate for maybe eight hours. That time zoomed by but only because I had an epidural. I highly recommend the epidural to all people who scream out in horror inducing pain when they stub their toes like I do.  I have had Tom come running into the room after just such an incident at least twelve times only to have him roll his eyes like "Seriously? I thought you just got stabbed in the eye with fourteen very sharp needles." And then I'm all "This is some serious pain here buddy. You have no idea what it's like to casually brush your toe up against a chair leg. I was almost bruised here, geez!" So yeah I guess you could say natural birth is not in the cards for me.  However, that doesn't mean I wasn't in the worst pain of my life that day. And uggghhh the recovery! Tom has turned to me many times since that day and told me how amazed he was with me for going through all that.  He is wowed at the strength I had to push for almost four hours until my body gave out and I didn't even have the energy to open my eyes or talk.  And then to go through a surgery after all that agony just to bring my beautiful daughter into the world all without food or water for almost two days. I actually amaze myself that I was able to endure that kind of painful experience. It makes me feel like I can do anything now.

Lauren is now twenty-three days old which means soon she won't be a newborn anymore. I'm not ready to give up the newborn title yet.  I don't want to say she's a month old.  I want to keep her ity bity forever. Her body is so tiny and fragile. Her eyes are so big and magical and I can't describe how in love with her I am. I've been breastfeeding her and hope to continue when I go back to work. I love the convenience of pulling her out of her crib next to my bed and popping her on my boob without ever having to get up and mess with bottles. This means that I am always the one who has to get up with her instead of Tom. Before I had her I assumed we would be taking turns getting up in the middle of the night to take care of her but once she finally came home with us I realized that her meal comes exclusively from me. Even if I had stored milk up so Tom could feed her, I would still have to get up and pump again so I don't wake up in puddles. Now that Tom is back to work, I don't even bother asking him to get up even to change her because I know he has to wake up at 5:30am and he can't take naps during the day like I can. I don't indulge in those naps but I like having the option. I've had the luxury of having a very good sleeper. She goes to bed with us around 9 or 10pm and gets up two or three times in the night to eat and poop but she goes right back to sleep when she's done.  We stay in bed usually until 8:30-9am so that's why I don't take naps.  I'm surviving on the sleep I get through the night.  Once I go back to work in three weeks, that will be a different story since I'll have to start getting up at 6am and yuck, I am totally dreading that. If everything goes as planned, I will be going back to work August 2nd and work part-time until December.  I want to work three days a week so I can be home more with the love of my life. I can't imagine how much of her life I am going to miss while I'm working.  It makes me teary and I just hate to think about it.  So, for now, I'm going to cherish these last few weeks with my favorite person in the world. I plan to do a lot of snuggling and kissing in that time so I will have some good memories to tide me over at work until I can come home and squeeze the crap out of that kid.  Man, I love her.  It just doesn't get better than this.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

My body is an open bar 24/7

Living with a newborn baby is the most interesting and exhausting thing I have ever taken on in my life.  We live moment to moment and we never know what to expect next.  Lauren surprises us everyday with something new, mostly poop related. I've learned not to change her diaper immediately because it will just end up all over my hands and the changing table. Sometimes I'm not sure where she is storing all that poop. She must have a reserve tank somewhere in her tiny body that triggers a release only when the diaper comes off her little butt.  I used to get mad but now I've learned that everything is washable and stains are inevitable.  That's just life with a baby and I have to accept it. 

I've been rotating between breast feeding and pumping so that it fits my schedule and still gives Lauren the best nutrition I can offer her.  Pumping takes like ten minutes max and I prefer the option of getting it done quickly. But breast feeding offers a bonding time that I can't get any other way. Plus the clean-up is minimal. However, she always falls asleep while breast feeding and the whole process ends up dragging out sometimes to an hour and a half at a time.  This kid is almost always attached to me, sucking away at my body like I have nothing better to do than serve her food 24/7. I knew breast feeding would be challenging but I never knew the amount of time it would take away from my day. I'm pretty much an endless open bar for one very hungry, very tiny customer.  Oh and by the way, this demanding customer doesn't tip or say thank you. 

 My family came in for the weekend to meet Lauren for the first time. Here's my mom spending time with her granddaughter a few hours before we took her to Ikea and she pooped all over her beautiful dress..... Lauren, not my mom. 

Of course the weekend my family chose to come visit happened to be when the kiddo decided to stay awake all night long making it almost impossible to really enjoy time with them with my eyes open. It was really special to see my family hold my child. There's really nothing like it. It's a shame I don't live closer to them.  Lauren will never live near her cousins like I did as a kid.  It was my favorite part of growing up.  You have this whole network of built-in friendships with aunts and uncles to help raise you.  My childhood was extremely family oriented until my cousins moved away when I was in high school.  It broke my heart to not have them nearby and I have never fully recovered because I lost their friendship.  I'm hoping Lauren will have the chance to get to know her cousins in California and New York well enough. She's pretty close in age to them so there's a good possibility they can be good friends even living far apart.  Life is so different now that they will have the option to keep in touch over the internet. We never had all this social networking when we were kids. We just had playgrounds and sandboxes. And when your mom wanted you back home she couldn't send a text.  She had to scream out the back door to come home. And it worked. It worked well.

Lauren is now seventeen days old and I am almost back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I have about five more pounds to go and I have the confidence that I will lose that before my follow up postnatal doctors appointment. I lost twenty pounds almost immediately in that first week. I give credit to the breast feeding and the fact that I was sliced open and couldn't really walk, therefore I couldn't really get myself to the kitchen to eat endless amounts of cheese and ice cream like when I was pregnant. Plus the pain kind of makes you forget about food. Not to mention twenty-two hours of labor with no food followed by four days in the hospital with either a restricted diet or no appetite.  I'm still recovering now and I hope to be able to get back to my jogging routine soon. For now I will take walks and treasure the time I have with the cutest little human that ever lived pooped.